Monday, 30 January 2012

A Taxi Ride!

As I push the buggy back home after the school drop-off at 9am, I often envy those heading to work in buses, darts and taxis. I imagine it must be great to have the time to think and compose one’s thoughts before heading into the day. 

One day it happens to me. A few wonderful hours of work outside the home on a Monday morning or so I think.

It’s 8.30am as I wait for a taxi on the main road. …None to be seen… It should only take 15 minutes to get there. 8.45am – the kids wave to me on their way to school. I’m getting slightly anxious.
Finally a taxi stops. It’s now 8.50. I get in. ‘Milltown, please’.
He moves off.
‘…Where did you say again? he asks.
‘Milltown. … Dartry Road….’.
‘…And we are where now…?
‘B o o t e r s t o w n…’
No recognition.
‘…Blackrock?’ I suggest.
‘…oh yes.’
I look at him quizzically. He isn’t foreign… Irish accent.
‘And where is Millstreet?’ he questions through the rear view mirror.
‘Mill-T O W N’.  I say it slowly and deliberately. ‘We need to get to the N11.’…
‘…Oh yes, and the N11 is over….’
      ‘Yes, parallel to this road’. I finish what I hope is a statement.
He thinks aloud. ‘Oh yes… have to turn left. Maybe it’s this one.’
‘NO! That’s a nursing home! It’s the next one.’ I consider candid camera. I wouldn’t be that lucky!

I can hear myself think.
In fact, no radio blares in the taxi at all. Something’s not quite right with a taxi driver who doesn’t listen to the radio I think. I look at the time. I might just make it. We stop at the lights beside RTE.
‘So I go straight here?’ he asks.
‘NO!  That’s a dead end’. Could he not see the cul de sac sign? ‘Turn right… Do you have a map?’
‘No’. His right hand pretends to flick for one in the side of the door.

I consider hopping out and getting another taxi. The lights change. I don’t move.
Neither does he.
‘GREEN!’ I snap.
‘Oh.  Thanks.’
‘Look, I really need to get there in 10 minutes.’ 
‘I know where I am now I think.’
Oh God…. I suggest he contact someone at taxi control.
No radio communication.
‘Forgot to charge it this morning’, he says.
I check the taxi photo ID. … It’s really him.
He reaches in to the front compartment and takes out a Sat nav - wires and all. ‘You know how to work these things?’
Oh Jesus!
‘N O! …. Look, my colleague who has come from another COUNTY is actually waiting for me for the last 30 minutes. She knows this area. I’ll ring her’.

I ring and she becomes our live sat nav. After a few wrong turns we are almost there…or so I’m told. I hang up. But my destination is still not in sight. I ask him to stop so we can ask a pedestrian. He drives past the first one saying ‘She looks foreign, she probably wouldn’t know’.
‘JUST STOP so I can ask’.
He stops.
The entrance is a half mile back in the other direction.
He turns and we join the procession of cars. It is 9.26am. As we snail along, he explains,
-          you see I usually do the  
‘STOP’, I yell. ‘We’ve passed it’.
‘I’ll reverse!’ he says.
‘NO, I’ll jump out.’
‘I won’t charge you the full amount – 10 euro is fine’, he says. ‘You see, I usually do the North side. It’s just I got a fare this morning to the hair clinic in Blackrock and…’.
I hand him some money. ‘Here, buy yourself a f****** map', and I’m off.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Friday the 13th

I’ve just checked for play-dates etc. for tomorrow. I­t’s Friday the 13th. One of three this year. I consider rearranging plans.

In our house there seems to be a relationship between this date and children’s hospitals. Last year it was the 2-year-old eating washing machine liquid tabs.  He burped bubbles for hours but was fine. The previous one was painfully memorable - a stitch between the toes for our 4-year-old. Her foot slipped when cycling in bare feet (in the house). Ouch.
Growing up I was never ultra superstitious. Now I’m respectfully so. This is why...
We had found our first flat in a house near Ballsbridge, one of those old, large four-storey ones. It was the garden flat. After hours and hours of cleaning, we fell into bed on the first night. This was also to be our last.
Sometime during that night I woke up. I don’t know why.  It was still dark. But there, facing me where the wardrobe had been earlier, against the wall, was a little boy, maybe about five or six, dressed in Dickensian-type clothes with cap and short trousers, holding a package of books tied up with string. He was smiling. His eyes were watching me and I knew he wasn’t trying to scare me.  But he was.
I screamed and screamed - ‘Get the little boy away from me. Get the little boy away from me’.
I screamed for the third time and the little boy began to dissolve back into the wall.
And then he was gone.
And so were we.
We rang our landlord the next day and said we had to leave. No reasons asked for or given.  Our deposit was returned. The date on the cheque was Friday the 13th.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Rice Krispie Buns

I finally found someone who has confessed. We hug each other, buddies for life!
Our sin? – Rice krispie buns – we can’t make them!
What? I hear you say. But it’s so easy to make them: just melt the chocolate in the bowl and add the krispies! – Sure they’re 90% air! – so I’m told.
Ah! That’s what I’ve been missing.
Oh what a gulf between theory and practice.

There is nothing so disheartening as watching kids taste my krispie buns. I watch in hope, but they pull a face and slowly place them back.
A whole plate left at the end of a mother and toddler coffee morning is a real sign of failure. If I'm lucky, the kids are too young to be able to talk. But there’s always one who has a clear word that hangs you.
So, I just don’t make them any more – officially, that is. I admit that I have tried it again (and again – even with the Avoca recipe with the mars bar) all in the hope that it might - rather than will - work one day.